23 November 2012

The assumption that we're all tamarindaholics

The festive season is upon us, and food gifts are in our minds.

So it's just terrible, isn't it, that everyone assumes that we all want boxes of tamarind? And that everyone assumes that  tamarind in its many forms and in every recipe, is what we all crave so much that we take it to bed with us and are willing to eat it secretly in the toilet, away from weighing eyes? And moreover, that we all yearn to be told, by experts, that "It's good for you", thereby assuaging our guilt for salivating at the very thought of it?

I find it offensive, too, that we are barraged by reasons to buy and consume tamarind for health reasons, even though the constituents that are effective are only mere traces compared to the bulk of unhealthy matter in the stuff.

But I do admit, it doesn't matter what form tamarind is sold in: fresh in the pod, scrunched in a block like a block of dates, pureed in a paste, I can't get enough of the stuff. And though no university has funded the study, I can report from my own invention: Mamoul stuffed with (heavy on the T) khajur-imli (I like leaving out the cumin but adding plenty of cardamom and ground nuts [pistachios, almonds, or walnuts]) will make your endorphins' eyes grow limpid with love for you, like a King Charles spaniel's, for liver. That's the truth. But then are you one of the millions who can't bear any more tamarind?

Open Crandolin (a personality test)

Which do you prefer?
Open Crandolin! (a friendly invitation to you)
Open Crandolin! (a command. Get cracking!)
Open, Crandolin! (your command, though there are limits—Crandolin won't Sit!)

See reviews and what other people say
For the joy of it
Ode to Literaturnaya
Happiness=Soviet ice cream

15 November 2012

Crandolin released today – so be as the cinnamologus

From Chômu Press:

For the adwentoursomme
...We couldn’t fit all the praise so far received for Crandolin on the back cover, so here are a couple of quotes that we did not manage to include:

"Epicurean fantasy at its finest. Crandolin is an uncanny mating of passion and precision: that Anna Tambour is billed as ‘author’ and not ‘magician’ belies the virtuosity with which she coaxes a whirlwind of gluttonous carnality into her scintillatingly intricate narrative web."
Rachel Edidin

"For gourmands literary and culinary, Tambour is always a treat, and Crandolin is Tambour at her best. Bold and subtle, rich and delicate, this is fiction to savour, fiction to sustain the soul."
Hal Duncan
Read the rest of their announcement, and enter their prize draw with the magic words:
"borscht borscht borscht" 

Crandolin is the only novel ever committed that was inspired by postmodern physics AND Ottoman confectionery.
&, in the words of Lucius Shepard:
"Crandolin is unlike any novel you will ever have read."

So, to those who would give a basket of medlars as a declaration of love
If your tweets are, as the cinnamologus, listened to by others with particular taste, and your gifts as choice as those picked under cinnamolocare, consider Crandolin (which is as attractive as any medlar, yet has no stones) — and to those like you, though there are so few, let your voices fly.

A special someone has just urged me to add: Crandolin is for donkey lovers.

11 November 2012

Ode to Literaturnaya

The inside of a book is as important as the outside. That statement might sound odd, but it's so often ignored now when practically anyone can convert a file.

The internal layout can add to the pleasure of reading, distract, or be a pain. Along with the size of type and arrangement of text, the typefaces used can add to the enjoyment, merely aiding the reading experience, or they can do more. When I designed Monterra's Deliciosa & Other Tales & and Spotted Lily, I chose Sabon for all the internal text in both books. This typeface is an excellent choice for a collection and would do any novel justice because it is so easy to read and has a self-effacing personality.

But typefaces can also enhance a book by supporting what the book is about. And with that excuse, ignoring the fact that I'm mad about letters, Crandolin is set in Literaturnaya.

I have many books set in Literaturnaya, most with stories approved by a system that didn't allow freedom and hated originality. Fancy that! 
If it's really true that this face which is full of grace and should be recognised as one of the best ever designed, has been replaced by Times Roman, it's a bloody Baskin Robbins, it is.

10 November 2012

Kitchen Sink Tragically Excluded Yet Again! Crandolin Acknowledgements & Apologies

Warning and qualification:
Anyone hoping for some juicy content should look elsewhere. There are so many people and others who have a genuinely fascinating relationship with Crandolin, but the novel is obdurate, insisting: “All my relationships are strictly confidential”.

So who’s saying what, and why here?
Any novel with a healthy amount of self-respect and, if not necessarily a wish to jump into a relationship with you, the reader, at least some empathy for you--deserves no buttings in by others when you meet.

Crandolin: Author-soliloquy-free
Though it is a mercy whenever an author is reduced in a novel, to a name-tag and observant silence, the power of the novel might not be understood. People to whom the author is indebted might read into the lack of Acknowledgments, churlishness.

So here, safely out of sight of Crandolin, I wish to thank some to whom I am indebted.
(Out of respect for the novel’s privacy and their own, the names with the least particulars after them are in some cases, hiding the most I haven’t told.)
Alistair Rennie
David Kowalski
Ellen Datlow (the Good Witch to so many, and what a wicked wand she wields)
Keith Brooke (the Saviour)
Rachel Edidin (the valiant Knightessa)
Hal Duncan (I expect to be ice-skating with you when g.w. causes h. to f.o.)

Christopher Conn Askew, the outstanding and unclassifiable artist with a weakness for history and books. He painted the cover in an act of mad generosity, but he has much better things to do. Chris not only undertook an amazing amount of research to make this bespoke cover fit perfectly, including reading Crandolin; but he created something that is so lovely that the author would be a fool to think that if people are attracted to the book, it’s because of the beauty inside.

Kathleen Jennings, another favourite artist who has a droll sense of humour and an ability, as only the best do, to show so much in so few lines. She also read Crandolin, and in this Chômu Press edition there is a special treat, thanks to her: the after-the-feature cartoon. In some bright future, let there be editions in languages I can’t understand, with Kathleen’s illustrations that speak to everyone.

Other readers who gave generously of time and thoughtfulness: Steve Aylett, Marilyn Pride, Leone Britt, Vera Nazarian, and Lucius Shepard.
Others who should be awarded Orders (some with an additional Star of the Lent Shoulder): Brenda Vallance, Tom Dann, Ron Serdiuk, Ellen Kushner, Marcus Ng, Simon Brown, Claude Lalumière, Marc Laidlaw, Lucy Kempton, Laird Barron, Alice C.E. Bauer, Cat Sparks, Jeffrey Ford, Jamie Shanks, Jayaprakash Sathyamurthy, Adam Browne, Janine Bajus, Timmi Duchamp, Alisa Krasnostein, Kaaron Warren, Lewis P. Morley, Lee Battersby, Jonathan Monroe (not you or you, but you), Nurduran Duman, Richard Glatz, Jeff Sypeck; Borderlands Books in San Francisco and Pulp Fiction in Brisbane, and PS Publishing, Charles Tan, Cheryl Morgan and Bill Congreve for services to writers and readers; Tom Jaine for same, including services to pigs who have good taste in literature (in packing for Eternity, remember: Without a Prospect book, Eternity will feel like a lifetime)
Linda Carr (who has catered to my book designing wonts for years)
Marc McBride
a great helva-maker whose identity shall remain a Secret

Four great editors who I hope to be lucky enough to work with again: Ellen Datlow, Jed Hartman, Rudy Rucker
& at Chômu Press, Quentin S. Crisp, who gave me the best time I’ve ever had with a book. It’s a bloody shame that he is such a stimulating, generous, anal-retentive and considerate editor—not to mention, fascinating person. If I weren’t so selfish, this would be an apology for Crandolin having cut so deeply into his time and thought-space as Quentin S. Crisp, whose fiction is unforgettably poignant, thoughtful, and such a pleasure to read—lucid, unpretentious, and yet surprising and always unpedestrian; he has also tossed off some of the finest essays without thinking “I’m an essayist” any more than he would, “I’m a philosopher”.

Crandolin is too snooty to be satisfied with being published as samizdat, and the author of Crandolin has unaggressive tendencies. So it would have sunk in the permafrost but for the one who calls himself the bEast. That Crandolin is published, and by the perfect publisher for it, Chômu Press—is due to that author who is like no other:
the moustached matchmaker, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
To Joe and to all the other generous people above, you could all be adequately self-obsessed, yet you continue to operate at an obsolete level of generosity that conflicts with your own careers. No wonder robots and / or programs are destined to replace you.

Digesting any acknowledgements list

beyond a listing of oneself is a task too like digesting a bowlful of suctioned-off bellyfat. So if I the author have missed you who have helped me (and you reside on Earth, sorry Asteroid *ians—this isn’t your moment to shine), and you would have liked being mentioned, I am sorry (not to mention amazed). For any people who feel tainted by association because they are listed, please drop me a line and you will be cleansed from the list. As to the curdled text and indigestible gristle in Crandolin, no one should be blamed but me.

Isn’t it over yet!?
A sincerely modern apology to the person I would have dedicated Crandolin to: Abhijit Bhattacharya (not you, but you). Though you ordered your novel cooked as you like it: So well done, it’s Depressing Dostoevskian--it turned out: smoking but only lightly bleak. So please accept Crandolin as an amuse bouche, and savour the pleasure of disappointment.

04 November 2012

Another magnificent insignificant: mushroom-scented 'coral'

Pycnoporus coccineus (spore side) and ?

This bracket fungus is common around these parts, and this is the first time I've seen it being attended by any insects. These look like instars of something that I should know, but all I can say definitively is, "Duh".

One of the characteristics of this fungus that has caused me many uselessly thoughtful hours, is its ability to grow around such light objects that the physics of force and time seem impossible.
 See the grass?
The colour lasts,which makes it the perfect gem to wear for special occasions, or as I did once for the beautiful artist, Marilyn Pride, woven into a diadem for a medieval festival. 
As a gem, treat as women are supposed to, our skin. Lightly spritz with water before displaying it to the world so as to bring out the colour, smooth out the wrinkles, and bring out the 'natural glow'. 
Watering also brings out again that alluring, yet subtle scent—one that can be worn anywhere with style and confidence—unlike most perfumes that, like most music, should be banned from restaurants.